Ja’Mori Maclin Transfers to Kentucky: What’s the Ceiling for the Wildcats in 2024?

    The Kentucky Wildcats snatched up one of the nation's most coveted wide receivers in the transfer portal. How does Ja'Mori Maclin fit in Lexington?

    The Kentucky Wildcats scored a major coup in the transfer portal ahead of the early National Signing Period on Dec. 13, landing highly-touted wide receiver Ja’Mori Maclin out of North Texas.

    Maclin comes to Lexington as CFN’s No. 6 ranked transfer portal wide receiver. Here’s a breakdown of the significance of the transfer and how he’ll fit the Wildcats’ offense in his Southeastern conference chapter.

    What Ja’Mori Maclin Accomplished Before Kentucky

    Maclin, whose cousin is NFL WR Jeremy Maclin, holds this rare feat among portal wideouts: He’s dominated in not one but two different conferences.

    The speedy 5’11” option emerged as an All-Conference USA freshman in 2022 — averaging an astonishing 23.8 yards per catch playing for the Mean Green’s Air Raid offense.

    But as UNT moved to the American Athletic Conference, Maclin soared to new heights in the AAC move. He snatched 57 receptions for 1,004 yards and crossed the end zone 11 times.

    MORE: College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    He opened the season by grabbing four catches, 122 yards, averaged 30.5 yards per catch, and scored twice against the California Golden Bears. But from there, Maclin delivered an astonishing six more games averaging more than 20 yards a catch — including the 55 he averaged against Abilene Christian.

    He ends his UNT tenure, swooping nine receptions for 118 yards in the 45-42 win over UAB.

    North Texas had Maclin doing most of his damage on the boundary spot. However, the Mean Green found mismatch opportunities when they lined him up in the slot. North Texas was blessed with one of the nation’s best deep threats.

    “A big-play threat, Ja’Mori Maclin simply needs the ball launched in the air, and he’ll track it down and make something happen,” wrote CFN’s Cam Mellor back on Sept. 27.

    Impact of Ja’Mori Maclin’s Transfer to Kentucky

    Here’s how the UK pulled off the huge transfer win: Ole Miss, Penn State, and Michigan State under the Jonathan Smith regime all went after Maclin once his name entered the portal.

    Maclin was originally set to follow in his older cousin’s footsteps by committing to Missouri. However, he headed to Denton, Texas, for his first two collegiate seasons.

    Now, he’s going from an Air Raid to a more multiple approach. Kentucky’s offense has seen its share of misdirection runs and screens but also takes the deep downfield plays. UK, long story short, runs a Los Angeles Rams-like approach with former Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen calling the shots.

    Will this mean Maclin could become the Cooper Kupp in Lexington? Kentucky does have a strong slot option eligible to come back in Tayvion Robinson, who caught 37 passes for 507 yards and scored four touchdowns.

    However, this could mean that Kentucky and head coach Mark Stoops will soon have one of the nation’s deadliest slot WR tandems.

    In addition to being inserted into new play calls by Stoops and Coen, Maclin is heading to an offense known for spreading the ball around. UK had three receivers catch between 37 to 40 receptions last season.

    Still, the Wildcats are getting a six-point threat and one of the nation’s fastest wideouts, with December NSD one week away. At a school that’s used to the thrill and excitement of UK’s dribble-drive basketball approach, the Wildcats are letting it be known they want to be just as fast when they hit the field.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football’s transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

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